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Eating on the cheap in Sonoma County

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I want to try a challenge-- finding prepared food (enough for a meal) for under $5 in Sonoma County. Something child friendly that doesn't involve an arch, Colonel, Clown, King or Drive-through. Share with me your favorite places that fit the bill...Prefer Petaluma, Cotati, Penngrove, Rohnert Park locations but will consider other parts as well.

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  1. Hi Dr. Mimi-

    Here are a few of Santa Rosa's (cheap) eats under $5 - all are kid-friendly. You might have to skip drinks or BYO to stay under $5. Sorry, I can't make the all the links work for this...

    La Palapa on Lewis Road - 2 tacos

    Phnom Penh Market at SR Avenue & Petaluma Hill Road- take-out bun or salad rolls.

    Thailao Market at 1081 Santa Rosa Avenue- Banh Mi (sorry about the spelling) - $3 Vietnamese sandwich on Fridays at noon. I think it's still the only reliable local source of this great snackfood - anyone know different?

    SRJC Culinary Cafe Bakery - $3 flamiche, pizza or savory galette with cookies. Wednesday - Friday 7:30 AM to 2 PM. Call first to find out if they're in session 5

    Saturday farmer's market - 3 bbq oysters for $5. BYO french bread.

    Tandoori Express 1880 Mendocino- fresh, handmade naan stuffed with lamb, onion or potato. Also curry on rice. (other inexpensive fastfood places in this strip mall include Mombo's Pizza & a Chinese place).

    Pupuseria Salvadorena - antojitos menu is $5 and under - $1.75 for fresh, handmade pupusas.

    La Texanita - again, many antojitos under $5 to mix & match.

    Grocery Outlet - you'll always find at least one combo of bread or crackers and cheese for under $5. The produce tends to be expensive, but check for organic which is often on sale ($1 for two celery hearts last week). The cancer park is 1 1/2 blocks down 4th Street toward downtown - sunny, shady, fountain...usually only a few transients.

    Another great picnic park is Luther Burbank gardens - you can watch food being grown - kiwi, cardoon, prickly pear, walnuts, blueberries, kale, quince, apples, amaranth, quinoa, cherries, plums and culinary & medicinal herbs are a few of many. There's a sweet little children's garden on the east fence that encourages looking, touching and smelling. :)

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    La Palapa
    590 Lewis Rd, Santa Rosa, CA 95404

    Grocery Outlet
    1116 4th St, Santa Rosa, CA 95404

    Thailao Market
    1081 Santa Rosa Ave, Santa Rosa, CA 95404

    SRJC Culinary Arts Center
    458 B St, Santa Rosa, CA 95401

    1. If you can budge one penny more to reach $5, then check out the Filipino rice plates at La Parilla in Cotati. Our ala carte size servings were $8 at the chowdown, but I bet the rice plate size is plentiful for the bucks.
      http://www.chowhound.com/topics/434457

      Also, the owners' kids are hanging out in the place, so children are certainly welcome.